TECH::Smaller is better; less is more. – Introducing the new 6U 8080 AFF!


If you’ve ever run a data center, you know that physical rack space is at a premium. I’ve been reminded of this recently, as me and several of my TME cohorts have been busy working in the lab getting something special ready for this year’s NetApp Insight. I’ve been tweeting videos of it as teasers and will have a new one coming out this week.

Basically, we’ve been trying to squeeze an entire demo into a travel rack. While, this isn’t something most people would try, space for physical servers and storage is a concern for every datacenter administrator, especially service providers.

Enter AFF

NetApp recently has been aggressively pursuing the all-flash market with some super deals for customers. They are outlined in various places:

There was also a recent Tech ONTAP podcast on Flash:

But the problem is, one of our beefiest models – the AFF8080EX – was a taking up a whopping 12U of rack space! That needed to get better, and it has.

Smaller is better, less is more

The Register reported on this as well, but my goal is to explain why a smaller footprint of rack space is better for any data center admin, if it’s not already apparent.

Data center real estate is a real cost that many people forget when looking at the overall price tag for servers, storage, switches, etc. The reason it gets overlooked is that it’s a price tag that accumulates over time and isn’t readily apparent up front. Data center costs are broken down into a few areas.

Physical rack space: The more rack space you eat up, the more racks you have to buy. More racks = less physical floor space. That means you end up having to rent or buy more space.

Power: Bigger units generally eat up more power (not always, but generally). That means you pay more per month in electricity.

Cooling: Bigger units generally require more BTUs for cooling. This also eats more power.

Using more dense equipment saves money in the long run and it’s especially useful when those servers/storage that are more dense also have better performance than servers/storage with larger footprints.

It’s just one more way NetApp AFF is making all-flash storage more of a reality for the data center.

TECH::Things you should know about NetApp Insight 2015 – Las Vegas

NetApp Insight 2015 is rapidly approaching – and there’s still time to register.

The Las Vegas edition is taking place Oct 12 – 15, and I am currently eyeball-deep in session presentations and labs. But I wanted to be sure to write up a post about stuff to know.

This year will be the 3rd year I am presenting at Insight, so I figured I had some… well, insight into the conference.

Location, location

This year, the conference is at Mandalay Bay. This is significant, as the past 2 years have been at MGM Grand. Mandalay Bay is in South Las Vegas. Google Maps link here. It’s actually a bit father out from the famous Bellagio, Paris, New York, etc. casinos than MGM was. So, prepare to walk a little farther if you wanted to explore. The good news? More time to people watch.


I’m not a huge Vegas fan myself, but many people love it. There’s plenty to do; casinos at every corner, shows (many of them you can see for free) and some pretty good food.  I’m not sure what the Mandalay has to offer in terms of eats, but I have rarely been disappointed in food in Vegas (outside of the prices).

If you want to get outside of the casino portion of Vegas, there are a few side trips outside of the city worth taking.

If you want entertainment in the city, there is the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum, KISS Mini Golf (yes, that KISS), and some pretty cool attractions otherwise. Ever wanted to operate construction equipment? Shoot big guns? Drive exotic cars?

There’s also stuff like the Pawn Stars, but from what I hear, it’s not all that great to see.

With Vegas, it’s harder to be bored than to not have something to do.


So, Vegas is cool and all, but you’re *really* there for Insight and to hear about all the cool stuff NetApp is doing, right? Thought so.

The MGM Grand version of Insight had exhibit halls for sessions and a main exhibitor floor for booths from sponsors. I don’t expect Mandalay Bay to be any different. Sessions run around 1-2 hours per session, with about 15 minutes in between. There are breaks for lunch (which is provided) and there will be snacks throughout the day. The session catalog is now available, as is the session schedule builder. There is also a NetApp Insight mobile app to help keep you up to date while you are on the go.

There is also a copious amount of free swag to procure. Free, that is, if you listen to the vendor’s pitch. However, use that time to ask real questions and find out more about their product offerings. It’s not just about the free swag; it’s about having contact with representatives from those companies.

In addition to the booths and sessions, there are plenty of other features of the conference, which, by the way, isn’t just about NetApp – it’s about YOU.

This year, the musical entertainment for the final night will be Train, who has had a number of hit songs over the years.

Also, you can meet the hosts of the Tech ONTAP podcast, and even be interviewed for the show! (Or, simply record a Glenn greeting)

Swing by the NetApp booth for more info.

NetApp Insight Best Practices

Here’s just a quick list of things to get the most out of your experience.

  1. Schedule early – they may fill up fast.
  2. Don’t double-book sessions. Use the schedule builder!
  3. Visit the exhibitor floor. Get free stuff.
  4. Talk to people; vendors, collegues… network!
  5. Eat, but don’t eat too much.
  6. Be sure to catch some sleep. (And not in your sessions)
  7. Explore!
  8. Do the hands on labs
  9. Get Certified
  10. Attend parties. Have fun!

Sessions of Interest

Some of the sessions I’ll be checking out include the ones I’ll be doing (since I have to be there and all).

This year, I’ll be focusing solely on multiprotocol in clustered Data ONTAP in an attempt to help people better understand the myriad questions surrounding the use SMB and NFS on the same unified data storage. I’ll be doing a session on general multiprotocol best practices and operation called:

1884 –  Unlocking the Mysteries of Multiprotocol NAS in Data ONTAP

Having trouble understanding multiprotocol? Can’t figure out the difference between authentication and authorization? Do you think a name mapping rule is something doctors provide to new parents at the hospital? Wondering what a “CIFS/SMB” and “NFS” is anyway? This session can help! We cover all things NAS in clustered Data ONTAP, from the basics to the best practices, and try to help make multiprotocol a little clearer for storage administrators.

For a deeper understanding of the inner workings of authentication in clustered Data ONTAP (which is integral to multiprotocol), I’ll be doing a session called:

1881 –  Authentication in Clustered Data ONTAP: SecD Deep Dive

Authentication in clustered Data ONTAP uses the security daemon (SecD) for connectivity to external dependencies for NAS protocols such as Active Directory, LDAP, NIS and DNS. This session will cover how SecD works in clustered Data ONTAP 8.3 and beyond, as well as how to troubleshoot issues and what kind of statistics are available for SecD and external name services.

That one is for partners and NetApp employees only.

Some other sessions you might want to check out:

1904-2 NetApp® SnapMirror®–Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3® Storage Operating System Deep Dive (Presented by NetApp SnapMirror TME Mike Worthen)

In this session, we consider NetApp® SnapMirror® and SnapVault as it relates to clustered Data OnCommand®. We discuss such topics as version-flexible replication, NDO restartability, and sizing using SPM. We also evaluate how these topics can be applied best in common configurations in order to maximize uptime and recoverability.

1879-2 Network Design Considerations and Use Cases For Clustered Data ONTAP® 8.3.1 (Presented by NetApp SnapMirror TME Mike Worthen)

Take a deep dive into NetApp® clustered Data OnCommand® network configurations and objects. In this session, we explore objects introduced in the 8.3/8.3.1 code lines and cover potential use cases.

1744: A Fistful of Windows File Services – An NDO Deep Dive (Presented by NetApp CIFS TME Marc Waldrop)

Find out how NetApp® provides non-disruptive operations for Microsoft® Windows® File Services, in particular the SMB protocol. Learn what happens during cluster activities like migrating a LIF to another node in the cluster, moving a volume to another node, or relocating an aggregate. We also explore how these activities relate to the different SMB protocol versions and how Clustered Data Ontap® can continue to provide access to your data.

2179: Microsoft Windows File Services Strikes Back – Not just for Home Directories (Presented by NetApp CIFS TME Marc Waldrop)

The Microsoft® SMB protocol has changed significantly over the years. SMB is still a rock star with traditional project file sharing and home directories, but there is so much more to it and Clustered Data OnCommand® is all in. Come see what NetApp® has to offer in Microsoft Windows File Services. We will briefly cover what arrived in Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3 and 8.3.1. Learn about ODX and why we are different. Discover what Dynamic Access Control is and how NetApp was the first storage vendor to implement support for this new Microsoft feature. Learn about features like SMB Witness and Auto Location, and why they matter to you. Come see how Windows File Services on Clustered Data ONTAP can help you.

2127-1 Introduction to Clustered Data ONTAP® Storage Operating System (presented by NetApp cDOT TME Jay Goldfinch)

This session provides a conceptual overview of Clustered Data ONTAP® for beginners. It discusses data management problems and shows how Clustered Data ONTAP solves them and uses practical, scenario-based discussions to cover cluster architecture, terminology, and functionality.

2135-1 New Features in Clustered Data ONTAP® 8.3.1 (presented by NetApp cDOT TME Jay Goldfinch)

This session covers features introduced with Clustered Data ONTAP® 8.3.1. All NetApp® Flash FAS enhancements, inline compression, SnapMirror® for Storage Virtual Machines, MetroCluster™ enhancements, and other new features will be discussed.

Some other sessions of interest:

ID  # Session Title Presenters / Owner
Core / clustered data ONTAP
1879 Network design considerations  and use cases for clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.1 Kris Lippe / Mike Worthen
1550 Secure Multi Tenancy and Storage Virtual Machine DR Doug Moore
2048 NetApp® Storage Systems Performance Primer Jay White
1849 Data Management Best Practices for High-File Count Environments GV Govindasamy
2355 Best Practices for FlexClone in VM centric environments GV Govindasamy
2238 Getting the Most Out of NDO: Considerations & Best Practices Vegas: Jay Bounds / Aaron Hill
Berlin: Jay Bounds
1646 Virtualized Data ONTAP in the NetApp Data Fabric Kris Lippe
2842 Cluster Configuration Deep Dive and Design Considerations Doug Moore
1898 Scalable SAN Best Practices in Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3 Ben Krieger
1903 What is Mission-Critical Business Processing in Clustered Data ONTAP® SAN? Ben Krieger
1901 Advanced Space Management for Clustered Data ONTAP SAN Vegas: Michael Peppers
Berlin: Michael Peppers
2844 The NetApp® SAN Decision Tree: FAS, AFF, E, EF Krieger /  Sammer
3090 Leveraging FlexArray to modernize your data center Anand G Nadathur
2934 Winning in SAN with FLI Mike Peppers
CORE Flash
1722 Getting Started with All Flash FAS and Hybrid FAS Storage Skip Shapiro / Daniel Issacs
1723 Maximizing Benefits with All Flash FAS, Flash Pool, and Flash Cache Skip Shapiro / Daniel Issacs
2843 Winning with the All Flash FAS POC Toolkit Tony Adams
Rana Sep.1
Data Protection
1810 What’s New in MetroCluster for Clustered Data ONTAP® Roy Scaife
Owner = Charlotte?!
2306 Trends in Data Protection and How NetApp® Fits In Vegas: Jason Ihel / Frank Holliman
Berlin: Mike Walters
2311 Data Protection Design Considerations Vegas: Chris Maino
Berlin: Michael Schlosser
1809 MetroCluster Introduction: Continuous 2-Site Protection Roy Scaife
Owner = Charlotte?!
1932 How to Design Data Protection Services Like a Service Provider Evan Miller
2247 Transition to Clustered Data ONTAP: Tools Deep Dive Vegas: Lyle Timmerman / Daniel Esposito
Berlin: Mrinal Devadas / David McMath
1645 Clustered Data ONTAP Transition: Assessment and Planning Vegas: Jeff Asher / Hadrian Baron
Berlin: Chriz Ott / Eric Mueller-Kessler
Rana – Sep.1
1643 Clustered Data ONTAP Transition: Overview Vegas: Aaron Hill
Berlin: Mrinal Devadas
2096 Clustered Data ONTAP Transition: Complex SnapMirror Environments Vegas: Jeff Soto / Dave Temple
Berlin: Chriz Ott
1554 Transition Case Study Scott Gelb
2845 Clustered Data ONTAP Transition: Using the 7-Mode Transition Tool Jay Bounds

For more sessions, see the session schedule builder and check back on this post for updates!

If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter @NFSDudeAbides!

TECH:: The NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast and its Triumphant Return


A long time ago…

…in a galaxy far, far away, Nick Howell (aka @datacenterdude) decided it would be pretty awesome if NetApp had its very own podcast for people to listen to. He started it with Gabe Lowe. After 20 episodes, Gabe moved on to PernixData. Episode 23 introduced Pete Flecha to the fold.

Glenn Sizemore joined the fold after proving his chops on Microsoft, NetApp Shift and FlexPod.

I’m pretty sure they found Andrew Sullivan as a small child, being raised by a cult obsessed with Docker containers called “Tail of the Whale.” (But I could be making that up).

Full bios on those guys are below…

Why Podcast?

This was an effort to raise NetApp’s profile and social media cred, as well as maintain a running dialogue with customers and partners alike. The podcast would include information about NetApp, its products and feature subject matter experts in the storage industry to talk about a variety of topics, both standard and cutting edge.

The podcast was hosted on Nick’s site and operated in a sort of official/unofficial capacity. After a solid run of building a dedicated fan base, Nick moved on to another gig and the podcast was left in limbo.


Would it be resurrected? Should it?

You don’t miss it until it’s gone

It turns out that the podcast was extremely popular. So popular, in fact, that there was a groundswell of support and furor coming from its listeners. People loved the podcast. They wanted it back. They needed it. So, NetApp delivered.

The phoenix rose from the ashes and the NetApp Communities Podcast was brought back as Tech ONTAP, which had the official blessing of NetApp as a company.


Unlike before, the site was now hosted on the NetApp Communities. The official Twitter handle became @NetApp. And the show was hosted by a trio of Nerds With Attitudes. The first episode of the new podcast was posted on July 31, 2015.


Who hosts Tech ONTAP?

The podcast is currently hosted by 3 of the best and brightest at NetApp.

Pete Flecha @vPedroArrow


Pete is the NetApp TME for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, including NetApp MetroCluster and SRM. He has his own blog called Pete is the host of the Tech ONTAP podcast and is an absolute perfectionist, so he’ll spend hours at a time editing the podcast and doing re-takes, just to make sure it’s right. Pete has presented at VMworld and will be presenting a few sessions at NetApp Insight.

Here’s a list of Pete’s technical reports, if you’re interested:

When he’s not working, he’s getting absolutely destroyed at foosball by Dan Isaacs.*

*Paid for by Dan Isaacs

Glenn Sizemore @glnsize


Glenn is a jack of all trades, but a master at all of them. FlexPod, anything Microsoft, HCI, cloud… and those aren’t just buzzy resume’ filler fluff. He ACTUALLY KNOWS THOSE THINGS.

Glenn is the co-host of the Tech ONTAP podcast and keeps Pete Flecha honest, as well as bickering with Andrew Sullivan. He’ll be presenting at NetApp Insight and likely knocking it out of the park.

Here’s a list of Glenn’s technical reports, if you’re interested:

Andrew Sullivan @andrew_ntap


Andrew Sullivan (aka Sully the Monster) is a VMware/DevOps/Docker/Automation TME for NetApp and has helped spearhead integration of containers onto NetApp storage and is active in the relationship between NetApp and ClusterHQ. Like Glenn, Andrew knows multiple technologies and can tell you more than you’d even want to know about them. However, you’d have issues hearing him, as he’s pretty soft spoken. Either that, or the beard acts as a muffler. He’s a co-host of the podcast and has every technology mastered – except microphones. He also writes up the podcast blog posts and has his own blog called

You can often find him locked in a hearty “discussion” with Glenn Sizemore from topics ranging from what the best use of containers are to if water is truly wet.

Here’s a list of Andrew’s technical reports and blogs, if you’re interested:

Who else?

Guests range from experts like Jay Goldfinch (cDOT TME)Dan Isaacs (AFF TME and Vaughn Stewart harasser) to EVO:RAIL master Eric Railine to FlexPod TME Melissa Palmer (@vmiss33) to myself. Coming weeks will feature even more top notch industry experts, so be sure to subscribe!

Each week, a new topic is covered at a deep, technical level. Additionally, the Tech ONTAP podcast gives daily wrap ups of conferences, such as VMworld and NetApp Insight. The fluff is kept to a minimum. The podcast’s intention is to educate and entertain.

At NetApp Insight, they’ll be interviewing NetApp employees, partners (including members of the esteemed NetApp A-Team) and customers daily to get their take on the conference. There will also be a Tech ONTAP booth, where you can meet the guys and ask them questions.

So if you can’t attend in person, you can at least keep up with what is going on from NetApp’s perspective.

Where can I find it?

The podcast is posted as a blog each week in the NetApp Communities. Taking a long road trip or flight? Download a few and take a listen. Have some downtime in between sessions at NetApp Insight? Listen to the podcast!

The first six episodes of the rebooted podcast are listed below:

The old podcast episodes are buried in New Mexico (where they found the Atari ET cartridges).

They are available on Soundcloud and iTunes for free download.

Be sure to also check out what sessions I will be doing at this blog post:

My NetApp Insight Sessions

VMWORLD::Diary of a vN00b (complete with name dropping)

It’s been a hectic and exhausting week at my first VMworld. I’ve been to tech conferences (such as NetApp Insight), but never to anything of the sheer size and scale of this one. It’s not a storage conference, but you better believe storage was on the forefront of the conversation as the virtualization message starts to shift to converged, hyper-converged, flash and cloud.

Luckily for NetApp, we happen to have all of those bases covered already with FlexPod, EVO:RAIL, All-Flash FAS and Cloud ONTAP/NetApp Private Storage, as well as the NetApp Data Fabric.

My primary role at VMworld for NetApp was to man the NetApp booth and offer my knowledge and expertise regarding NetApp technology. I had some very good discussions with customers regarding their challenges and how they could potentially solve them. In the Meet the Engineer sessions I had, I made sure to emphasize that those customers should be doing an open and honest evaluation of their options for two reasons:

  • Doing your homework is always a good thing.
  • I was confident that once they did the research, they’d see that NetApp offered the most value.

While I was there, I managed to snap some photos of the booth and what we were doing.

Busy booth!

Meet the engineer!

The illustrious All Flash FAS 8080

Dan Isaacs grinning about his Vaughn Stewart argument

The guys from TechONTAP solving real problems

Rachel Dines showing a customer how awesome AltaVault is

For more photos, check out the Google Album.


I also was here to meet new people, both at NetApp and in the tech community. I got to know a ton of really smart people and interacted with folks that I previously only knew on social media.

Some highlights (and blatant name dropping):

So my first VMworld is in the books and now I get to give my aching feet a break. Bring on the next one!